For some of us playa’s, there never seems to be enough time in the day to do what we do best…which is not a lot. By the time Happy Hour rolls around, we start to wonder where the day went. But fear not. A few tweaks to your day-to-day activities can start putting some time back into your life, so you’ll have more time for watching reruns of “Wings” and warming up your TV dinners. All it takes is a few adjustments.
Recognize Where the Waste Is
In order to begin a time management program, you need to pinpoint exactly where you are wasting the most time. Likely, there will be many areas where you need better time management. Look at those areas and start working on them every day. Slacking off here or there won’t help you. Be rigid.
Get Some Tools
Getting your life organized will help your time management because you won’t have to think about what is coming up next on your schedule. You can also look up directions if you have a meeting, what restaurants are nearby, and a million other handy things to save yourself some time. Some people use their iPhone for these functions and some still use the Palm Pilot system. Whatever you use, make sure you can surf the net and plug in your daily schedule at ease.
Multi-Task While Eating
Eating while just staring at the wall is a great time waster. Which is not a good thing. At least check your e-mail or read over a project you have to work on in the afternoon while you are munching your way through that tuna sandwich. If you read (dork!) in your free time, do it during lunch to give you some extra time later when you are usually reading.
Make Calls in the Car
No, we didn’t say hold the phone or dial while you are driving. That’s illegal in a lot of places these days and kinda’ not safe. Use a hands-free device to make your calls and check your voice mail. We all have people we need to chat with every day, so make good use of your time in the car and get the talking out of the way while you make your way through traffic.
Brush Teeth in the Shower
Getting your teeth cleaned up may seem like a quick enough task, but if you do it while standing under the shower head, you can save yourself a couple of extra minutes in the morning. Do it for a week and say hello to ten extra minutes of time for you. This is time you can spend putting your fake eyelashes on or something.
This is for those of you that work out. Provided you have a cardio program, think about getting the workout finished before you even get home. If you have a wife, girlfriend, or even a dude you carpool with, have them drop you off a few miles from home and start your run. Throw your clothes in a backpack and do it up Army Ranger style. Saves you having to go in the house, change, then leave again. Shaves several minutes off of your day.
Piggybacking on the running time saver, for your weigh-lifting workouts, try adapting it to a home workout. Press some iron in the living room while watching a TV show you have on DVR or a flick you have way-overdue from Blockbuster. You will finish your workout while getting your entertainment on and now have some extra TV time for the evening.
Watch the Distractions
Dudes get distracted easily, we know this. If you have some work to get done on the computer, but can’t resist TNT’s afternoon lineup, keep the TV off while working. This goes for the radio, hanging out at Starbucks or working while sitting on the beach. Actually, that one would be pretty sweet.
Give Work to Someone Else
We don’t take on too much work ourselves because we’re just lazy. But we know a lot of you out there keep piling work on yourself. Learn how to delegate and give work to other people at work, or to roommates at home. Little things, like washing dishes can suck 10 minutes out of your day. Look for areas to pass the task baton to others.
Many of us feel that afternoon lull where our head starts to bob at our desk. We’re bored with work and we just had to stay up last night to see Angelina Jolie on Letterman. We then spend the next hour trying to fight off sleep and getting refocused. To avoid this, make sure to get enough sleep every night…except the nights when Angelina is on.
Each night, there needs to be a moment where you review what will be happening the next day. If you have somewhere to be at 8:30am, plan accordingly. Set your alarm to wake up earlier. Plan your route to avoid as much of the morning traffic rush as possible. It will only take a couple of minutes to refer to your schedule, but will save you tons of time the next day.
Making sure you are attacking a task in the order it should be conquered is also key to managing your time. Alphabetizing your record collection instead of doing your taxes is probably not a smart move. Make a list of things you need to do — no matter how small — and put them in order. You can then attack projects and tasks as they move up the list instead of trying to do pieces of projects at the same time. That just keeps you unfocused and wasting time.
Keep on the Cleaning
For you dudes not fortunate enough to have someone living with them that loves to do all the cleaning, you need to stay one up on the cleaning, laundry, and general house stuff. Don’t let the laundry pile up for two weeks then blow half your Saturday doing laundry and folding clothes. Likewise, don’t wait until your place is so messy even the vermin are moving out before you clean it. Do a little at a time as you are going about your day. It’ll never pile up and you’ll always be caught up.
Make Some Extra Food
If you cook — or even if you are just ordering out — make sure to get a little extra. You can reheat the stuff for your next dinner and save yourself having to cook again. Or you can brown bag it the next day at work and save yourself a trip out to Burger King. Try doing this 2-3 times per week and see how much extra time it’ll save you.
Monster Shopping Day
This is the antithesis of the cleaning tip. Grabbing some groceries and other household items can suck up your time if you go a few times per week. There’s the traffic, parking, standing in line…all that fun stuff. Plan your shopping for a couple hours once every two weeks. Stock up so you won’t have to keep running out for more stuff. Yes, this will require thought and making a list. But you’ll save yourself hours.